CIA suspends Iran operations chief: report

Published March 18, 2014
Jonathan Bank was earlier withdrawn as CIA station chief in Islamabad in 2010 after newspapers in Pakistan and elsewhere published his name, blowing his undercover status.— File photo by AFP
Jonathan Bank was earlier withdrawn as CIA station chief in Islamabad in 2010 after newspapers in Pakistan and elsewhere published his name, blowing his undercover status.— File photo by AFP

WASHINGTON: The head of the CIA's Iran operations has been suspended after employees complained about his “abusive” management style, The Los Angeles Times reported Monday, citing unnamed officials.

Jonathan Bank, a career officer with the spy agency, had been placed on administrative leave after an internal probe found he had created a hostile work environment, according to the Times.

Former officials said employees had been in “open rebellion” over the officer's management style and that the division, which oversees spying on Iran and its nuclear program, was in a state of disarray, it said.

The Central Intelligence Agency declined to comment directly on the report, saying it does not discuss personnel matters, but a spokesman said the CIA holds managers accountable.

“As a general matter, the CIA expects managers at all levels to demonstrate leadership skills and foster an environment that helps their employees perform at the highest levels to achieve Agency objectives,” spokesman Dean Boyd said in a statement.

“Whenever that doesn't happen, we examine the situation carefully and take appropriate action with a goal towards improving both the working environment and the leadership skills of the manager,” he said.

Bank was withdrawn as CIA station chief in Islamabad in 2010 after newspapers in Pakistan and elsewhere published his name, blowing his undercover status.

US officials privately said Pakistan's intelligence service was behind the leak as part of a dispute with Washington over CIA drone strikes in the country's northwest tribal area.

Bank, 46, previously served at CIA stations in the Balkans, Russia and Iraq, former agency officials told the Times.

He also was a senior assistant to James Pavitt, who from 1999 to 2004 headed the CIA's cladestine operations arm.

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